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Watercress Soup

Watercress Soup

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The success of this simple soup depends on using the freshest watercress available. Choose the full-grown, thick-stemmed variety; it has more of the green's characteristic bold, peppery flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 bunches watercress (about 2 pounds), tough stems trimmed, chopped (about 20 cups)
  • 1½ teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided

Recipe Preparation

  • Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5–6 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Add watercress to pot; stir until leaves wilt. Let soup cool briefly. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to same pot. Stir in 1½ tsp. lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

  • Whisk cream with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in 1½ Tbsp. chives.

  • Rewarm soup gently over low heat. Divide soup among demitasse or small teacups and garnish each cup with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. chives over.

Recipe by Christopher Hirsheimer, Melissa Hamilton,

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 120 Fat (g) 7 Saturated Fat (g) 4 Cholesterol (mg) 25 Carbohydrates (g) 12 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 66 Sodium (mg) 570Reviews SectionSince I am a diabetic, I made this with white sweet potatoes. It is very good, and white sweets are even more full of good stuff than white Irish potatoes. No chives, no cream, still great. Also asI am lazy I merely cut the onion up in a cursory manner and whizzed it up with the hand blender (those are a great aid to the lazy and to those onions give sinus tortureAnonymousAUSTIN,TX01/15/19I was writing a review of this recipe last night, and somehow it came out anonymous, which I hate, so I'll try it again. The recipe inspired me to make watercress soup - I had too much watercress in the house - but to make it differently.I cut up three onions, and roasted them briefly, then added some garlic and some whole wheat pastry flour, as well as some cut-up chilis and a jalapeno pepper, gradually adding some home made vegetable broth, and the potatoes (I used young, red skin potatoes I did not have to peel), and for the rest I finished it pretty much as per the recipe, except leaving out all dairy. The tastes of the vegetables just come out better when you leave out the oil and the animal products. People will come back for more. Instead of the whipped cream, I used some chia seeds. Your heart (and your stomach) will thank you.Rogier van VlissingenBronx, NY03/13/18This recipe was useful to me, except that as written it is the nutritional equivalent of a hydrogen bomb, so I rewrote it without the fat and other dairy products, and made it a bit spicier with some chilis and some jalapenos, and about double the amount of onions, and it came out fantastic..AnonymousBronx, NY03/12/18

Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

&ldquoThis refreshing supper is a take on canh, a type of quick, brothy Vietnamese soup. The soup (pronounced KUN) can be sour, rich with vegetables, [or] loaded with seafood. But whatever variety, the unifying factor is simplicity. Our version stays true to the simplicity, but scales up the ingredients so this can serve as a satisfying meal on its own. Watercress adds a peppery note look for &ldquolive&rdquo watercress, which is packaged with its roots attached. It stays fresher longer and is easier to clean. To prep it, trim off and discard the roots, rinse and drain the greens, then cut them into 1 1/2-inch lengths, discarding any stems that are thick or tough. If you prefer, substitute an equal amount of baby spinach for the watercress, but roughly chop the leaves before using. We also liked this soup made with chicken bouillon paste instead of chicken broth use 2 tablespoons of paste dissolved in 2 quarts of water.&rdquo&mdashJames Beard Award nominee Christopher Kimball


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and reserved separately
  • 1 lightly beaten large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 4 thinly sliced medium garlic cloves
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths watercress (4 cups lightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)


Prepare the meatballs: line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, kosher salt, and white pepper. Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form into 20 balls, each about a generous tablespoon. Set on the prepared baking sheet, cover and refrigerate. Don't leave the meatballs at room temperature after shaping them. Chilling firms them so they hold together when added to the simmering broth.

Prepare the soup: in a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until simmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of the ginger and the garlic, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is fully softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the meatballs, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain the simmer and cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes they should reach 160°F at the center. Take the soup off the heat and stir in the watercress and the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Let the soup stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.

Excerpted from: Milk Street: Tuesday Nights (Little, Brown and Company, 2018). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Connie Miller.

Picking Watercress in the Boonies

When I was a kid, we lived in a small upstate New York town where Asian markets and fresh watercress were nowhere to be found.

It was even tricky to find watercress in New York City’s Chinatown (where we reliably stocked up on vital pantry items and produce essentials periodically), which was already a two-hour drive away to begin with.

One summer Sunday, while taking a family drive, we made a roadside stop where there was a large steel pipe with a generous flow of clear, cold water flowing into a large steel tub. The tub was old, and excess water flowed out of it into a nearby brook.

It sounds like a health hazard today, but it was a welcome sight on that hot day, and the cold mountain spring water was still the best water I have ever tasted!

As we enjoyed our water, my mom scouted the neighboring area where the stream flowed and widened. Suddenly, she exclaimed, “wahh, sai yeung choy !” Is that wild watercress growing there? After a quick taste, she concluded it was, and went to work harvesting a few bunches. Needless to say, we harvested watercress from that same secret spot many times after!

All-time top ten watercress recipes

You can make hundreds of dishes with watercress, from pesto for pasta to warming soups, there’s no need to go hunting through the site for the all time most popular watercress recipes - they are all here in one place. You can use the whole watercress plant in these recipes, including the stalks, so there’s no wastage. If you need help preparing watercress, have a quick look at our Cooking & Eating Watercress FAQ. The good news is that watercress is good for you whether it is raw or cooked, so if you’re in the market for a reliable watercress recipe, you’re in the right place.

By far our most popular recipe, this simple sauce can add an extra dimension to a huge variety of dishes and is the go-to watercress recipe. Try it with fish, chicken or pasta!

There are a huge number of watercress soup recipes for you to choose from, but if you’re looking for some quick and simple inspiration, this is the one for you. Ideal at lunchtime or as a starter.

The ideal accompaniment to pasta and a host of other dishes, this pesto has a strong peppery taste with less bitterness and in-your-face pungency than a traditional basil one. Not only that, but it’s packed full of the goodness that is found in watercress delicious AND nutritious!

This risotto has a fresh taste with a silky consistency. It’s a satisfying bowl of food for very little effort, and we’re sure it’s one that the whole family will enjoy.

Oils can enhance many dishes, and this one brings a fresh zesty flavour and smell to salads and soups. It also adds dramatic colour and vibrancy.

  • 20g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 100g/3½oz white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300g/10½oz watercress, tough stalks removed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g/3½oz spinach leaves
  • 500ml/17½fl oz boiling water
  • 500g/17½ ice cubes
  • 100ml/3½fl oz crème fraîche

In a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and gently cook the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not coloured. This gentle sweetening of the onion and garlic will transform the natural starches present into sugar giving that lovely sweetened onion flavour as opposed to the harsh raw onion flavour.

Increase the heat to high, add the watercress and a pinch of salt, cover with a lid and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. The spinach will round up the strong peppery qualities of the watercress.

Pour in the boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the ice. This quick cooking of the vegetables and cooling with the ice will not only retain the colour and the flavour, but also maximise the vitamins and minerals.

Pour half the soup into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup into a clean pan, then repeat with the remaining soup.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper if required. Serve the soup in a large tureen with the crème fraîche swirled through.

Soup Season - Watercress Soup Recipes From Around The world

As the final grinning pumpkin is put in the re-cycling and the tang of gunpowder dissipates into the night sky, there’s no denying it’s soup season. The chance to blend together some of nature’s finest seasonal goodies into a warming, wholesome dish that can be served in a bowl or poured into a mug to warm the hands as well as the heart!

Watercress soup has always been a firm favourite with many a celebrity chef coming up with their own version of the classic: Mary Berry, Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsey to name a few, not to mention Princess Diana and Liz Hurley who found it crucial in keeping her hourglass figure. The Watercress Company even has a Watercress Soup Diet guaranteed to help you drop the pounds as its the #1 nutrient dense vegetable based on calories.

Scan the internet and you’ll easily find any number of recipes that use watercress as a base for a tasty, extremely healthy soup. Here are some of our favourites including one from Italy and one from New Zealand to show watercress soup’s international appeal. One thing they all share is that brilliant vibrant green colour, bright enough to light up the dark days of winter.

Michelin star chef Stephen Harris shares his Watercress Soup with an Oyster guaranteed to put a smile on your face! In a recent paper published by the Journal of World Psychiatry scientists came up with a list of foods that are ‘the most dense sources of nutrients to play a role in the prevention and recovery from depressive disorders.’ In their Antidepressant Food Scale watercress scored highest out of both plant and animal sources while oysters were the highest scoring non-plant source. A Happy soup - who could ask for more!

Enjoy the crunch of radish contrasting with the smoothness of the soup in this delicious Watercress and Radish creation from Beverley Hicks.

Next up a delicious Spinach and Watercress Soup from the grande dame of Italian cooking, Anna del Conte. The Italians know a thing or two about healthy eating with the Mediterranean diet and here are two of the most healthy vegetables around combined into a superfood delight!

Sam Mannering shows how it’s made ‘down-under’ with a Watercress & Kumara Soup. Known elsewhere in the world as sweet potatoes, kumara replace the standard white potato used in classic watercress recipes to add extra sweetness.

There are hundreds more varieties of watercress soup out there! If you’d like to share your family recipe we’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, for inspiration take a look at some of the soups our development chef has come up with.

  1. In a large pot, heat oil add pork and brown.
  2. Add chicken broth and water and boil.
  3. Add Hawaiian salt, long rice, and watercress.
  4. Continue to boil until long rice and watercress are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add more water and salt, if needed.

Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving:
380 calories, 27 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 23 g protein

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy-based liquid seasoning (such as Maggi®)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 ½ pounds sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetarian chicken-flavored bouillon
  • ¼ pound tofu, diced
  • 1 bunch watercress, coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Place water, onion, soy sauce, soy-based liquid seasoning, garlic, and ginger root in a saucepan bring to a boil.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons boiling water. Add to the saucepan. Add mushrooms and bouillon. Reduce heat to medium-high simmer until flavors are blended, about 7 minutes. Add tofu and watercress. Simmer soup for 2 minutes more.

Pour in eggs slowly, whisking constantly, until cooked, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups chopped watercress, any tough stems removed, plus 1/2 cup leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh horseradish (see Note) or prepared horseradish, or to taste
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (Optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 1 cup broth and flour in a small bowl until completely smooth. Set aside. Add the remaining 3 cups broth and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the onion is very tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir chopped watercress into the pot and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the flour mixture and horseradish. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 1 to 3 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return to the pot, stir in half-and-half and season with pepper keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish with the breadcrumbs, watercress leaves and blue cheese, if desired.

Ingredient note: Look for fresh horseradish root in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler before grating.


Dish type

Total time


Healthy and hearty green soup

Leek, potato, broccoli, courgette and watercress smoothly pureed with stock - no milk or cream unless desired.

Creamy watercress soup

A light, pureed soup made with fresh watercress, potato and onion. Add a swirl of cream and some watercress leaves at the end for a nice finish.

Recipe by: William Anatooskin

Nourishing watercress soup

"This delicious watercress soup recipe is warming, filling and extremely nourishing. It is also highly nutritious and provides an excellent source of B vitamins, manganese, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and iron. Watercress soup is gentle on the digestive system, will help to energise you and aid the body’s recovery from illness.” Sarah Lumley, Nutritionist, Breast Cancer Haven.

Simple Watercress Soup

This soup is simple to make and packed full of flavour. Watercress and shallots are simmered together in a vegetable stock, then blended until smooth.

Cream of watercress soup

This elegant soup is not only delicious, but it's also easy to make. It's a fresh tasting pureed soup, which is perfect as a starter at any dinner party. Enjoy with crusty bread rolls, if desired.

Creamy watercress and cucumber soup

I like to serve this rich, creamy watercress, potato and cucumber soup topped with sliced smoked chicken for a complete meal.

Watercress soup

Dark green, peppery watercress is packed with healthy nutrients so you can enjoy this divinely creamy soup with none of the guilt.

Best watercress soup

Just four ingredients combine for a luscious watercress soup. If you can find fresh bunches of watercress in the market, even better - but a bag of watercress from the supermarket will taste fantastic too. You can also use veg or chicken stock instead of the water for richer flavour.

Award winning cream of watercress soup

This recipe has always been a winner with our family, and won a cooking contest for best starter and as part of best overall meal. Although I practised it so much before the competition that I can no longer eat it without feeling bored of it, I'm sure you will love it!

Watercress and Onion Cream with Cashew Nuts

The peppery flavour of watercress comes through beautifully in this nutritious soup – ideal healthy food in a hurry. Serve with crusty bread or a microwaved ‘baked’ potato. Delicious!

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